(West) Springfield!

Not long after I got here, I found out about Equine Affaire, a horse fair that has annual events in different parts of the country. And one of them is in western Mass! So, I looked up the event and realized, that Mark Rashid was gonna be there. Naturally, I HAD TO be there, too :) And, guess what? I actually ended up working (well, volunteering) there! So, way too early on friday morning, I was back on I-90 moving westward :) Springfield!

I was late, the stupid Hertz office at the airport only had one person working at the counter when I got in at 6 a.m. and it took them 30 minutes until 3 (three!!!) other people turned up... But, the interstate was pretty empty and I made it just in time for my first shift at the collosseum. I helped set up a jumping clinic with Todd Minikus. Isn't that a nice little course?

I realized that I miss Sandro like hell when I saw all these beautiful horses jump over the fences - I would actually have been comfortable with that height, too. And, more importantly, I realized that Todd is a pretty cool guy and a great clinician! I thoroughly enjoyed his demonstration. There are some great horsemen out there.

Here's another one of those horsemen, Ken McNabb. He did a colt-starting clinic and look at that colt, isn't he absolutely adorable? I want that horse! I also realized it is unbelieveably hard to be at an Equine Fair without actually having a horse at home... made me sad.... But oh well, it was awesome anyways :)

I stayed with two couchsurfers in West Springfield, Randy and Andrew. I love them :) They were so nice and just absolutely awesome and they have this nice little house in a community and *hmpf* it was just perfect. I even had my own room!

On the second day, I finally got to attend a Mark Rashid clinic. I was a little nervous, because who's to say he really is a great guy? For all I know, he could be a real jerk.... yeah, no :)

Everything he said just made so much sense and I kept thinking "exactly" and I kept wanting to ask him all these questions... I would LOVE to study with this guy, he's just amazing.... And then I went to see this other guy from Australia who's also pretty awesome... Guy McLean. He's horseman and showman :) He performed with five horses on saturday and trained a 3 year old on sunday (he's riding the 3-year old in this picture) He really loves what he does and I loved his compassion for his horses and his adoration for them. Hmpf.... I want a cowboy ;)

I also loved his bay, Aussi :) Adorable horse! And yes, I couldn't help it, I had to buy new boots... :D All that leather everywhere made me weak :D and they are soooo comfortable! AND red! And Ariat! And they were on sale! *yay*

Saturday night, the guys took me out for dinner :) We went to North Hampton to a little italian place where they make their own pasta. Oh my god... I've eaten a lot of Italian food in my life but very seldom has it tasted as good as their chicken masala... Oh my god... it was so good! And it was so much fun meeting everybody (we had dinner with five friends of Randy). The guys are absolutely awesome, I was dead tired but I had the best time! After dinner, we went to the tunnel bar for martinis :) *yeah baby* it was so cool! The bar, the guys, our seating setup (we occupied the entire entrance area with ten guys and me all sitting comfortably in one more or less open circle) It was just perfect! I could not have picked a more perfect pair of hosts!!!! I really hope I'll see them again, I wouldn't miss it for the world!

After the last day of the Fair on sunday (and after a long goodbye hug from Sally, the organizer), I drove further North on I-91 to visit the Yankee Candle Flagship Store (because Brian and Stephen both work for Yankee Candle and told me, I had to see it). OH MY GOD.... Do you know how in America everything is bigger and more over the top? Yeah, it doesn't get much bigger than that.... If you're ever in Western Mass, you HAVE TO go to South Deerfield and check it out! That store just never ends! I was in there for an hour and a half and I STILL didn't see everything! Amazing...

Of course, they have everything. From a candy store to a little bakery, kitchen supplies, all kinds of food, a mancave, a bavarian village, santa town and, oh yes, candles! In all colors and sizes and smells... oh, the smells... some of them (like red berries cedar) are amazing, others (like Schnitzel and noodles) not so much...  And I can't exactly say that they are cheap.... But, boy, you gotta see that store! I can't believe I didn't take my camera... I almost went back in with my camera to take pictures, but it was sunday, the house was crowded and I wanted to get back... So I headed up to Highway 2 and drove back east to my beloved Boston :) End of story? Western Mass is awesome :)

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